Text: Martin Aguilar / Photos: Brent Co, Martin Aguilar | posted December 01, 2014 15:10
Year-end Thai auto show highlights importance of ASEAN Economic Community
The 2014 Thailand International Motor Expo has once again served as a venue for automotive brands to showcase their new models and concept cars. This year’s event runs from November 29 to December 10 at the IMPACT Challenger Exhibition Center in Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok. The 31st edition of the show is one of the two annual motor exhibitions in Thailand and it features car display from a total of 41 International and Thai automotive brands.
Marking its world debut at the event was the 2015 Mazda2 Sedan. The Mazda2 Sedan is the brand’s subcompact model also known as the Demio for the Japanese market. The exterior design of the 2015 Mazda2 Sedan took cues from the Hazumi concept which debuted at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. It is fitted with the 1.5-liter SkyActiv-D engine, making it the first subcompact diesel powered passenger car to qualify under the Thai eco-car program
The notable cars on the show include the 2015 Nissan Navara which will debut in the Philippines at the end of Q1 next year. It features Nissan’s V-motion design concept along with LED projector headlamps integrated with LED daytime running lights. The 2015 Navara will be Nissan’s contender in the emerging pickup segment in the country. Along with the Navara, Nissan also showcased the 2015 X-Trail which made its Philippine debut last September during the 5th Philippine International Motor Show. The seven seater X-Trail has veered away from its traditional box design and adopting a sleek body with modern styling. Other cars that Nissan displayed were the updated Sport Tech concept Almera, Juke, March, Livina and Mobilio.
Also fueling the pickup truck wars was the public debut of the Mitsubishi Triton/Strada which is being highlighted by its new 2.4-liter MIVEC 'clean diesel' engine; the 2014 Asia Cross Country Rally Pajero/Montero Sport was also displayed. Honda displayed the 2015 HR-V, a subcompact sport crossover that is slated for Philippine release next year. Suzuki displayed the Celerio Custom model that features sporty design and a new front grill, the Hustler which seems to be a miniature version of the Toyota FJ Cruiser.
Subaru held the ASEAN debut of the 2015 Outback and displayed the XV STI performance model recently announced for the Philippines. Isuzu made its presence felt with the 2014 Australasian Safari MU-X while Toyota displayed the 2011 Dakar Hilux as well as the Yaris TRD Sportivo. Ford featured the 2015 Mustang along with other models such as the EcoSport, Ranger and Fiesta. The BMW i8 has also made its way to the show along with the Maserati Gran Turismo MC Stradale, the Jaguar F-Type, the Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 and the Mini 5 door
Another highlight during the 2014 Thailand International Motor Expo were the concept cars from Hyundai and Subaru. First up, Hyundai displayed the HND-9 concept which previews how the next generation Genesis Coupe could look like. Hyundai says the HND-9 concept features the brand’s ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ design language. The exterior is characterized by lines that stretch from the front until the rear end of the vehicle.
On the other hand, Subaru displayed the Viziv concept, a three-door crossover SUV that features futuristic design. It is powered by a plug-in hybrid powertrain that includes a 2.0-liter boxer diesel engine, electric motors and a lithium-ion battery. It sports an aggressive front design along with a protruding grill and sharp-looking headlights. The Viziv concept also has a sky roof and gullwing doors.
Aftermarket products offering a wide range of vehicle accessories were also part of the show. A number of aftermarket companies displayed customized cars which were a sight to see for visitors who love to tweak their own vehicles. The show can also be a one stop shop for visitors who want to buy aftermarket products ranging from accessories, audio components, wheels and a whole lot more.
Last but not the least, auto shows wouldn’t be complete without the eye candy attraction provided by the car show babes. Like all other auto shows, the pretty models made the event more entertaining by striking different poses when cameras are present.
As a whole, the 2014 Thailand International Motor Expo was an event that featured new models and concept cars. The organizers of the event said that they are expecting to have more than 1.5 million visitors for this year’s show.